By: Mike Ginsca
The Hyundai Elantra GT Hatchback received a complete overhaul for the 2018 model year. It packs more features, more fuel efficient engine, and a more European design both inside and out. So how does it compare to the competition from Honda, Ford, Mazda, and so on?
Engine – The Elantra GT is available with a 2.0L naturally aspirated inline-4 that produces 162hp. This Sport Ultimate trim however has a 1.6L inline-4 engine with a turbocharger attached to it. This bumps the power to 201hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, up from 150 lb-ft of torque. Strangely, this 1.6L turbo engine is also more fuel efficient than the 2.0L with fuel efficiency ratings of 9.2L/100km in the city and 7.1L/100km on the highway. The engine feels punchy enough during normal driving conditions. It is responsive with little to no turbo lag at lower engine speeds. For a car that tips the scales at just over 1,400kg, the Elantra feels peppy enough for most people’s needs. It’s not quite a hot hatch like the Volkswagen GTi or Ford Focus ST but you can still have some fun with the Elantra GT, especially if it has the manual transmission.
Transmission – This test vehicle came with the 7-speed dual clutch transmission. For the most part it is quick to shift through the gears when left in normal drive mode. However, setting off from a stop is a bit more cumbersome because the transmission feels sluggish to get the car moving. As in, it doesn’t accelerate off the line as quickly as you’d expect unless you bury your foot on the throttle pedal.
Braking – The brakes on the Hyundai Elantra GT have a firm and uniform feel throughout. They have a good and strong initial bite but they’re easy to modulate.
Handling – A big surprise to me was the weight of the steering feel. For a hot hatch it would feel ok but this isn’t quite a hot hatch that’s on the same level as the Golf GTi for example. So for everyday city driving, it is a bit on the heavy side. It does become lighter when maneuvering at parking lot speeds. Overall though it is an enjoyable drive on twisty mountain roads or when taking the kids to school.
Ride Comfort – It is a compact hatchback but despite the size, there is just enough room for taller drivers in the front seats. The back seats are a different story for taller adults but for kids, it’s not a problem. The suspension is more tuned for daily comfort rather than sporty driving characteristics. Thus driving over rough city streets is not a back breaking experience.
Noise, Vibration, & Harshness – For the most part the Elantra GT is a relatively quiet and smooth driving hatchback. There is some noise intruding into the cabin when the roads are wet from the wheel wells but when the roads are dry, it’s nothing too loud. Hyundai’s of just 15 years ago would have squeaks and rattles from the trim pieces but today’s Hyundai vehicles are much better put together. The Elantra doesn’t suffer from any annoying rattles even over rough roads.
Interior Design – The Hyundai Elantra hatchback has a European interior design. A simple to use 8” infotainment system is the predominant feature on the dashboard with also very simple to use climate controls just below it. It also has funky red accents around the air vents and the red stitching on the steering wheel along with the red seat belts. It all goes well together with the red exterior paint.
Odds and Ends
Gadgets – Things like lane departure warning, emergency automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control are all features that are available on the Elantra GT but only on this top Sport Ultimate trim which comes with a $30,500 CAD price tag. The infotainment system is the same one used in other Hyundai vehicles and is easy to to use. The best thing about it is the real time traffic feature on the navigation. If there’s congestion on the road ahead of you, it will highlight the road in red and during my week of driving the Elantra, it was always accurate.
Exterior Design – The 2018 redesign is a fresh update from the previous Elantra hatchback. It has a bit of a European flare from the lines of the roof to the stubby rear end. It also has some funky touches on the outside like the grille design and headlights. Overall it is a good looking headturner.
Overall the 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT is a good all-round hatchback. It’s not the sportiest of hatchbacks, for that you should take a look at the Focus ST, but for everyday livability, it’s worth the money.
Thank you to Hyundai Canada for providing the vehicle. www.HyundaiCanada.com
Editor at large and gearhead. Can drive anything on 4 or 2 wheels... sometimes 3 wheels too.